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All-Irish fights for 2017 – Part 2

Following on from a look at the lighter weights on Wednesday, Irish-Boxing.com concludes its run-through of potential all-Irish fights for 2017.

Read Part 1 here

Welterweight – 147lbs
Gerard Whitehouse v Matthew Wilton/Michael McKinson
Balbriggan’s Whitehouse is aiming for a step up in 2017 and his manager Tony Davitt shares a great working relationship with Alio Wilton. With Wilton looking to put on four shows in Belfast next year, and McKinson eyeing a spot on some of these cards alongside the younger Wilton, an eight round BUI Celtic title fight between Whitehouse and either of the aforementioned would be a perfect headliner. Should those behind the scenes feel that Whitehouse needs an intermediary step before such a fight, a clash with Belfast’s Jamesy Gorman would entertain – as the recent Gorman v Stephen Carroll bout proved

Light Middleweight – 154lbs
Sonny Upton/Pauly Upton v Alfredo Meli
Irish champion Pauly Upton has suggested that he is aiming to move to European level, so the belt may become vacant soon. However one fight which certainly piques our interest would be Upton, or indeed his brother Sonny and Alfredo Meli for the belt. Immaculata’s Meli has fought at middleweight his whole career but with his newfound backing from MGM, who also handle the careers of the Uptons, a move down to 154lbs may become possible. This could set up a good old fashioned Belfast battle for one of the, hopefully, many Boxnation shows in the Titanic City next year.

John Hutchinson v Michael McLaughlin Owen/Gerard Healy
The Buncrana Banger shares some bad blood with Healy, and is also keen on a Donegal derby with McLaughlin. For the time being Hutchinson intends to build in Thailand before coming home for an Irish title fight. If the returning Healy can string some wins together to put himself in contention then we could see the trilogy completed, while McLaughlin is also willing to move up to 154lbs for a Tír Chonaill tussle.

Middleweight – 160lbs
Jason Quigley v Spike O’Sullivan
The Golden Boy starlet is shooting up through the ranks and it could almost be now or never for him in terms of an all-Irish fight – and O’Sullivan could be that man. Quigley has said that he will fight again in March, while O’Sullivan looks set to headline a Murphys Boxing card in Boston on March 18th. Golden Boy and Murphys share a strong working relationship, with Quigley appearing on a Boston card before – could it be done again?

Luke Keeler v Darren Cruise
Alfredo Meli v Conrad Cummings
Everyone wants to see a rematch between Cummings and Meli following their draw for the BBBoC Celtic title in 2015. The promotional situation may cause this fight to be difficult to make – and the same can be said for any permutation from Cummings, Meli, and Keeler. The most flexible fighter in the division is perhaps Darren Cruise, and the Roscommon man could be in the frame when he returns from his time in Syria. The Irish title is a long-held dream for Cruise, and the BUI last year authorised a bout with Keeler – which would seem like a logical Dublin headline fight for the likes of Red Corner or perhaps even a big undercard bout on a Katie Taylor homecoming bill.

Super Middleweight – 168lbs
Chris Blaney v Alan Donnellan
The Ginger Ninja is on his way down to middleweight, but could make a stop off for a BUI Celtic title fight with Galway’s Donnellan. A bit of a crossroads clash, it is a fight that makes the most sense, especially for Donnellan, when one surveys the current Irish scene.

Light Heavyweight – 175lbs
Paddy McDonagh v Steve Collins Jr
An Irish title fight between former champion McDonagh and Collins (when he becomes eligible) would be a perfect Dublin headline fight for later in 2017. McDonagh, along with his brother JJ, have dates lined up in America for early in the year, but a homecoming would definitely appeal and is something which their promoter, Assassin Boxing, would be eager to do.

Cruiserweight – 200lbs
Ian Tims v Luke Watkins
An Irish title fight between Tims and Watkins has been authorised by the BUI, and Team Watkins have already booked a venue for Swindon on St Patrick’s Weekend. Tims has alluded to having a potential fight with Stephen Simmons on the horizon which may throw a spanner in the works, however we live in hope.

Heavyweight – +200lbs
Con Sheehan v Sean Turner
Big Sexy will, hopefully, fight in an eight rounder and gain Irish title eligibility soon. Once this is achieved, a fight for the green belt with MGM stablemate Sheehan will hopefully be made for the Summer. Possible the most talked-about potential all-Irish fight at this moment in time, it would be fascinating clash of styles and would be one of the bigger domestic duels of recent memory.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie